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  1. #1
    meech151
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    Air Compressor for Painting

    Hey guys. Its been a while since I've been to the forum. Can someone tell me what size air compressor would be adequate for painting frames. I'm thinking about starting to paint my own or at least some of them. Thankshttp://meechcustombikes.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
    framebuilder
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    I would recommend at least a 5hp two stage (if it is a piston/reciprocating type) compressor. You don't need so much air for your spray *** but a decent sandblaster requires a lot. I think the rule of thumb is 4.2cfm per hp. The reason for having a two stage is that it can build pressure up to 175psi (instead of 100 with a single stage). This extra reservoir of air allows you to run longer before the tank gets low and needs the compressor to start running to file it up again. This is particularly useful when sandblasting that may consume more air than what your compressor can keep up with.

    Don't skimp on getting a very good spray ***. I recommend the Iwata LPH-300. They quit making it recently but it should still be in stock various places. It is a "touch up" *** that is perfect for painting frames. Get the 150ml cup. Car guys need a bigger *** with fan control but a bike frame should be painted on a round pattern. Another favorite bike painting *** (but not for me) is the Sata Mini-jet. Eventually if you continue painting you will want various spray guns for different types of paint.

  3. #3
    meech151
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    Thanks Doug. I would be willing to put a little more money into a good compressor but since I've never even held a paint *** its kinda hard to spend over $300 on one. Is the
    expensive *** gonna shorten the learning curve for me?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    You'll need a drier for whichever compressor you choose. I'd look at the CFM required for your spray *** and get at least that in a compressor. I'm not sure how the driers work. You might want to visit a body shop and ask for help.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    ^^^ Click the pic for some awesomeness.

  5. #5
    framebuilder
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    A good spray *** provides a better finish because it atomizes the paint into a finer spray. I always try to get the best possible pro finish so lesser equipment is totally out of the question for me. I wouldn't say that a more expensive *** lowers the learning curve but certainly makes it easier to get a good result with less paint. One of my framebuilding friends had a cheaper primer-only *** but got rid of it because it couldn't give him as good a result as his more expensive color coat guns could do even when just spraying primers.

    I can get a discount from Iwata because I am a certified teacher with classes in both frame building and painting. I haven't checked with them on what the LPH-300 costs direct from them.
    Last edited by Doug Fattic; 12-23-11 at 08:42 PM.

  6. #6
    meech151
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    Yeah, it makes perfectly good sense. I kinda figured it would be like that because the guys that have always painted my frames use expensive equipment. Its another one of those
    things where you might as well buy the good stuff up front because your gonna buy it sooner or later. I may have to check into some of your classes. I've been looking for someone
    locally to teach me but apparently painting bike frames is a fairly unique process. Thanks for the info guys. Have a good holiday.

  7. #7
    Randomhead
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    I always loved painting, so when I started building frames again I looked into getting set up with modern equipment. Other than the fact that it's really hard to protect your health, I figured it was going to cost me a minimum of $1k and probably more like $2500 to get set up. That's without figuring out how to get a booth set up. I decided not to do it yet.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Unterhausen, I think you've only touched the low end on the cost of this.

  9. #9
    meech151
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    Another quick question. Can anyone recommend what type of primers and so forth you should use before painting? I know there are epoxy, etching, sandable primers, etc., I imagine you use different primers on steel versus carbon. Any info would be appreciated. I can get info from the guys at the paint store but its nice talking to someone who actually paints bicycle frames.

  10. #10
    framebuilder
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    I would suggest using House of Kolor. This is the paint hot rodders and custom motorcycle guys use. It has an array of pearls, candies, chameleons (which cost $300 a pint). It just came out with 6 colors of Primers ($45 a quart each) that can be mixed together to provide almost any base layer color. That way if a frame gets chipped, it isn't as visibly obvious. It also provides an even undercoat to enhance the top coat color (because most colors have some transparency). By adding extra reducer (thinner) these primers can also act as a sealer. I just tried it for the first time last week and my first impressions were very positive.

    The best primer I use is DuPont Corlar primer. It isn't a popular choice with the auto body guys because it has to be mixed like epoxy an hour before using and has a fairly slow dry time if it isn't baked off. It is super grippy and sands nicely. Kept in mind car guys paint requirements are different than bike guys because they need to get through as fast as possible for maximum profit and don't have to worry the paint will last for years. A common primer used by other frame painters is PPG – 40 (or maybe it is 30, I forget). Part of the system a painter uses is based on the convenience of a local supplier.

    Don't expect as much specific online advice about painting as you get about making frames. Check back into any frame forum archive and you will see what I mean. We've earned this knowledge through years of trail and error experience and don't just give away this competitive advantage for nothing. General advice is always available.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Doug is very accurate with this, but I think it's important to find a jobber close to home you can deal with. If it's PPG, or Dupont or HOK probably doesn't matter. Although, HOK sounds really cool in many ways. Personally, I have a good source for PPG, so that's what I use. Keep it simple, stick with one system, and know it.
    Last edited by Craig Ryan; 12-25-11 at 09:03 AM.

  12. #12
    meech151
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    Thanks for all the tips. I totally understand that many prefer to keep their methods under lock and key and thats a lot of the reason I quit spending my time on forums. I've always received good help for the most part but at some point I just decided to focus on building and making my own mistakes and figuring it out for myself, and I've also found good experienced help right here in my home town. It seems like I always end up doing it my way whether its right or wrong and I just build on that experience and thats what I'll have to do here, just start at the bottom and learn. I appreciate all the help, it feels like I have a head start. Keeping it local and simple is an excellent plan, its the way i prefer to do things and if I get in a jam I may give you guys a shout. Cheers to the New Year.

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